06 January 2012

It's tasty and good for your colon, too!

After visiting the Southeast a couple of years back, where all of my meals were tan (French fries, fried catfish, hush puppies..and that was just one meal), my guts were unhappy.  I’m not going to get too graphic, but I was looking for some fiber and some vegetables to make things right, and that is how this recipe was born.  Now I make this filling, comforting dish all the time, but particularly after the month-long party that was December.  As a bonus, you can freeze portions and reheat them for lunch for months to come.  And a small portion will do--have a little bit of this at noon and there will be no need to snack the afternoon away.

The beer is a digestive.

Coconut Barley Smack Down

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon fresh grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (remove seeds for less spice)
2 cups barley
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1-15 oz. can light coconut milk
1 small red bell pepper, diced
½ cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint
2 scallions, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium and sauté onion.  When it’s starting to soften up, add the ginger, jalapeno, and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the dry barley and about a teaspoon of salt and toast cook another minute, stirring constantly.  Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until liquid is mostly absorbed and barley is mostly cooked, but still a little bit too chewy.  This should take about 45 minutes.  Toss in the chopped red bell pepper, corn, and edamame, stir and cover, and continue to cook another 10 minutes.  When everything seems cooked, remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and scallions.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.